The Fulton Market area’s proximity to Chicago’s Central Business District, and to both local and regional transportation routes, has long supported its historic role in the wholesale produce and meatpacking industries. Within the last five years, the Fulton Market area has also seen tremendous growth with new award-winning restaurants, thriving retail, high-tech and headquarters office tenants, and boutique and international hotel brands. The overall West Loop area has added almost 2,000 residential units from 2012-2017, and more than 4,000 more units have been planned or permitted. This growth was anticipated and planned by the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development with a series of incremental infrastructure, zoning, and historic preservation initiatives.
To help spur the growth of increased density and new high-rises, while retaining the authentic industrial character of the area, Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development and the City Council have implemented multiple plans and regulatory changes: the Fulton Market Innovation District Plan (July 2014), the Fulton-Market Landmark District (July 2015), the expansion of downtown zoning (May 2016), the Fulton-Market Design Guidelines (September 2017), the West Loop Design Guidelines (September 2017), and zoning changes and Industrial Corridor Conversion Fee to the eastern part of the Kinzie Planned Manufacturing District (November 2017). The Kinzie Industrial Corridor Modernization Plan is expected to be completed this winter. These plans and regulatory changes outlined in the presentation have led to a more vibrant live, work, and play environment with well-designed mixed-use high-rises. The tallest that has been approved is 615 feet (187 meters), framing rehabilitated and adaptively-reused, pedestrian-scaled historic industrial buildings.